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Your Algarve News Highlights - January 13th 2024

Your Algarve News Highlights - January 13th 2024

Dear Reader,


Here is your weekly news overview…

Portugal's Tree of the Year is a Japanese Camellia

This beautiful, 300 year old Japanese camellia has won has won this years' Tree of the Year competition and will go on to represent Portugal in the international competition, which takes place in February.


Organised by UNAC (The Union Of Mediterranean Forests), this year is the seventh national edition of the competition, with voting starting on November 30th 2023 and ending on January 5th 2024. More than 20,000 votes were cast for 10 trees throughout the country, with the winner receiving 3900 of those.


Located in the centuries-old “Vila Margaridi”,gardens in Guimarães, Braga, Portugal's winner is several metres high and six metres in diameter, trimmed into a bell-shaped design. The tree is mentioned in medieval documentation.


Representing the Algarve region this year, in 5th place came a 250 year old Alportel Holm Oak located in São Brás de Alportel, which received a cery respectable 2451 votes. Located in

In 2018, Portugal came 1st in the Europe-wide competition, with a Cork Oak.


W: https://portugal.treeoftheyear.eu/


Half the World has Started Voting

Portuguese politicians are gearing up for the snap legislative election to be held on March 10th.  Globally, it will be just one of the biggest number of national elections ever held in a single year.


The centre-left Socialist Party that was dissolved in Portugal near the end of last year will be opposed by a centre-right coalition led by the Social Democrats (PSD). For the first time, Portugal’s right-wing Chega populist party is expected to be strongly in the race.


President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa called for the snap election after the Socialist Party was caught up in a corruption scandal that forced Prime Minister Antonio Costa to stand down.


Almost half the voters in the world spread over more than 50 countries will be choosing their governments or top leaders this year. Bangladesh and Bhutan have already gone to the polls in recent days. Taiwan is next. Finland will be electing its president on 28 January.


In the months ahead, the countries holding elections will include Iran, Ireland and Russia in March, India in April-May, the European Union in June, and the United States and probably the United Kingdom in November.


The three elections of most international concern are those in Russia, the European Union and the United States.


Russia’s presidential election is widely regarded as a foregone conclusion. President Vladimir Putin will be seeking a fifth term in office, the first since launching the war in Ukraine. He has already led his country for a longer time than any other Russian apart from Joseph Stalin, who dominated the then Soviet Union from 1924 to1953. Putin is largely basing his popularity on his efforts to dismantle Ukraine’s independence and restore its former position as part of the Soviet Union.


Together with his top colleagues in the Kremlin, Putin will make sure that anyone with the slightest chance of beating him in the presidency election will be sidelined one way or another. If re-elected, he is sure to carry on trying to win the war in Ukraine and enhance his strength in the Western World.


The European Union is politically changing with the increase in the number of far-right parties in the alliance.  This has been happening in the Netherlands, Italy and Hungary, plus the strengthening of Marine Le Pen’s National Party in France, and Andre Ventura’s  Chega party in Portugal.


Conservatives are expected to join forces with the far-right in the coming EU parliamentary election, meaning moderates in the 27 EU states may have to further curtail the “Green Deal” policy on climate change.  Opinion polls, however, suggest that radical politicians will remain as a minority and moderates will prevail in the new parliament. 


The most divisive and potentially dangerous election outcome would be a victory for Donald Trump in the United States. A return to presidential power, which is looking increasing likely, would send shock waves across the European Union, the United Kingdom and democracies everywhere else.


While plenty of would-be US Republican and Democrat candidates have put forward their names, it seems clear that only Donald Trump and current president, Joe Biden, will have any chance of winning in November. The betting is very much on a Trump victory, despite the many legal investigations and subsequent criminal charges against him. He has indicated that as the 47th US president he will crack down on the legal authorities that have investigated and  indicted him. 


Trump claims he will immediately settle Putin’s war and stop what he calls “the endless flow of American treasure to Ukraine.” He threatens to “fundamentally re-evaluate” NATO’s purpose and mission, thus greatly endangering European security and weakening its traditional ties with the US. All this and other tough measures, such as halting immigration from Mexico and Muslim countries, are expected to cause every bit as much chaos and division in his own country as during his first term in office.   


Meanwhile, the next government in Portugal will want to steer clear of this sort of excessive drama and keep this country as peaceful and prosperous as possible.


Written by Len Port



Teachers at risk of 'burnout' from working 50 hours a week

Teachers in the 2nd and 3rd cycles and secondary education are working, on average, more than 50 hours per week, according to preliminary data from the survey carried out by Fenprof between September and October 2023 and which involved 4,471 teachers from across the country.


Teachers with more than 11 assigned classes, more than 200 students or teaching at various levels of education are cases reported in the Fenprof survey, which warns of the danger of more cases of “burnout” .

Overwork had already been denounced in 2017 by Fenprof, which at the time said that there were 47-hour work weeks, but “the situation has worsened” in the last seven years, highlighted union leader Vitor Godinho, speaking to Lusa news agency.

By working 15 hours a week over the required amount, teachers are forced to sacrifice their personal and family life, which can lead them “to exhaustion”, with many “burnout situations”, he warned.

More students and more classes assigned are synonymous with more work, which can be seen in tasks such as preparing classes or correcting tests and homework.

The survey released today shows that 43.2% of teachers have more than 100 students: 38% have between 100 and 200 students and the remaining 5.3% have more than 200 students.

Vitor Godinho guarantees that the survey data can be extrapolated to the class universe, as all age groups, regions of the country, recruitment groups or gender are represented.

Teachers with many students end up having greater difficulties in providing personalized support. “Teachers are no longer doing their best”, he said, explaining that “being in charge of 200 students makes it difficult to get to know them all”, and the frustration can give way to 'burnout'.

The study shows that only half of teachers have less than five classes assigned, which for Fenprof should be the maximum limit of classes assigned to each teacher.

One in every five teachers (19.5%) has seven or more classes in charge, with 4.2% of teachers having 11 or more classes assigned.

Having more students and classes is synonymous with more work, and there are cases of teachers who have classes at different levels of education: Fenprof argues that the maximum should be three levels, but 10% have four levels and 6.8% have, at least five.

Working more than 15 hours a week than required by law, the union leader says it is “necessary to prevent illegality from taking hold” and asks political leaders to look at the results of the inquiry “so that hell is not the limit”.

Fenprof once again presents a set of measures to guarantee the application of 35-hour timetables, which range from “a serious and clear distinction between teaching and non-teaching components of teachers’ timetables”, returning the teaching component to encompass all direct activities with students.

Ensuring that teachers have a maximum of 100 students, five classes and two subjects, levels or curricular areas is another demand.

The reduction of the basic teaching component to 20 hours per week and the reduction of hours for those with pedagogical positions “in a number of hours consistent with the functions and tasks to be performed” are also part of the demand list.


National Health Service: Algarve now has three Family Health Units

As part of the reform of the primary health care National Health Service (SNS), the Algarve now has three new Family Health Units (USF), in Portimão, Lagoa and Castro Marim.

The Government implemented a reorganization of the SNS that led to the creation of 39 Local Health Units (ULS) across the country, including the Algarve ULS, the only one in the region, which at the beginning of the year started to manage the Algarve University Hospital Center (CHUA) and the three Health Center Groups (ACES) in the region.

The supervision of these ACES - Barlavento, Central and Sotavento - was the responsibility of the Regional Health Administration (ARS) of the Algarve, an entity that is now extinct.

The creation of the three new USF type B constitutes the main novelty of this process in the Algarve, along with the appointment of JoĂŁo Ferreira to preside over the board of directors of the region's ULS, announced on January 4th by the executive management of the SNS, which , in October, had already appointed him to the presidency of the CHUA board of directors.

Lusa tried to obtain clarification from the president of ULS in the Algarve about this reform, but a communication source from the unit indicated that JoĂŁo Ferreira will only make his first public statements as head of the administration in February.

Model B units are made up of teams of doctors, nurses and clinical secretaries, who contract with the respective Health Center Groups for the response to be provided to a given population, who thus have access to a family doctor and nurse.

These units have a pay-for-performance model with incentives based on productivity.

In the information provided on the reorganization of primary health care in Portugal, the Government highlighted that the first phase of the process of generalizing type B USFs allows family doctors to be provided to over 300,000 users.

“212 USF model A and 10 Personalized Health Care Units (UCSP) become USF model B”, quantified the Government, highlighting that on January 1st 222 new USF type B came into operation, with Portimão, Lagoa and Castro Marim are among the 51 municipalities that will have a USF of this type for the first time.

The same source stated that “there will be 570 USF-B in operation, in 154 of the 278 municipalities on the continent”, involving “more than 3,500 health professionals, who will now have remuneration incentives for performance, with salary increases of at least 60%” .

On January 4, the executive management of the SNS appointed the members of the boards of directors of 13 ULS and the Portuguese Institute of Oncology (IPO) of Coimbra.

On the occasion, the executive management clarified that “decree-law no. 102/2023, of November 7, proceeded with the restructuring of public business entities of the SNS, through the integration of existing hospitals and hospital centers with ACES, adopting for This is the model of organization and operation in ULS, under the terms set out in the SNS Statute”.

Among the members appointed were those of the board of directors of the Algarve Local Health Unit, with the executive management of the SNS then indicating that “the current members, who were appointed in 2023, remain in office”, in a reference to João Ferreira and his team, who had taken up roles in the administration of CHUA in October.

The executive management of the SNS also appointed Noélia Pinto as clinical director for the area of ​​primary health care and Carla José da Silva Pais as executive member of the administration of ULS in the Algarve with financial responsibility.



Portugal: Flu surge puts more pressure on hospitals

Portuguese newspaper, Diário de Notícias, has reported that flu has come back in force this winter, leaving people seriously ill and filling up hospital emergency departments.


The first influenza A type cases started appearing in October, sparking warnings from health professionals that vaccination coverage wasn’t high enough among those most at risk. That lack of coverage is now being felt in hospitals, where the majority of interned patients are unvaccinated, some of which are warning they’re struggling to manage beds.


Free flu and COVID-19 vaccinations are available from health centres and many pharmacies for those over 60 or with certain health conditions, according to the National Medical System (SNS) hotline. Health Minister Manuel Pizarro yesterday called for everyone eligible to get vaccinated, stressing there were plenty of jabs available.


Portugal was the only one of the 20 European countries on the EuroMOMO database with “very high” excess mortality in the last week of 2023, accoding to ,Diário de Notícias reports. Experts said the high level of respiratory infections appeared to be part of the problem, but the exact cause still wasn’t known.



New state-of-the-art weather radar is now operating in Loulé

The Algarve now has a state-of-the-art radar with dual polarization technology, offering significant improvement in weather surveillance and forecasting.


The new meteorological radar system, installed in Cavalos do Caldeirão, in the municipality of Loulé, is a significant leap forward in the field of meteorology,  promising to revolutionize the capacity for meteorological surveillance and forecasting in the region.


According to IPMA , the relevance of this innovation extends beyond national borders, benefiting not only Portugal, but also a large part of the European continent, especially Spain (AEMet). Portugal and Spain maintain a real-time data exchange protocol, focused on detecting and monitoring severe weather meteorological phenomena, essential for safeguarding lives and property.


The state-of-the-art radar, with dual polarization technology also plays a crucial role in the operational prevention of forest fires, contributing to environmental protection and boosting the national economy, especially in the agricultural, forestry and tourism sectors.


As part of the Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), the investment in installing this meteorological radar system in the Algarve (Loulé) and in Coruche, in the district of Santarém, totaled around 2.8 million euros. With this implementation, IPMA now has five meteorological radars strategically distributed, covering areas such as Arouca, Coruche, Loulé, Porto Santo and Terceira, all equipped with dual polarization technology.


At the same time, within the scope of the PRR, two meteorological stations were installed close to the new meteorological radar systems, together with two lightning detectors, located in OlhĂŁo and Viana do Castelo.


This technological advancement not only strengthens Portugal's weather forecasting capacity but also reinforces international cooperation in monitoring and responding to adverse weather events. The investment reflects the ongoing commitment to the safety and well-being of the population, as well as the preservation of the environment.


‍More news next week!




The News this week is sponsored by Portugal Pathways:

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Currency Market Update - 12th January 2024



US inflation came in stronger than what was forecasted for December, seeing the inflation rate increase to 3.4% versus 3.1% in November. Even if core inflation dropped from 4% to 3.9%, it was expected to reach a level of 3.8%. This has created more market uncertainty of when the Federal Reserve will start to cut rate and that its initial rate hike might be postponed from March to later in the year.



AlgarvePLUS Magazine - January 2024

The start of the new year is always special here in the Algarve, fields of clover, almond trees in blossom and the days getting longer already. In this month's issue, we discover more home-grown artists and artisans, some small villages that delight, and more!



Portugal’s Cultural Production Golden Visa set for starring role

Affluent expats keen to unlock the opportunities of Portugal’s Golden Visa now have another investment alternative.
Thousands of affluent families and wealthy investors have already taken advantage of the country’s alluring Golden Visa program – a scheme that offers fast-track residency and access to the whole EU Schengen region in exchange for investment in one of Portugal’s qualifying investment funds.



An inspired story about the cowboy in all of us

The new book by RĂ©al Laplaine, When Cowboys Fall, is a romantic contemporary fiction about a man, a very average dude, who finds himself looking at the shorter end of the road in his life, and not having achieved his dreams, faces the proverbial mid-life crisis.




Living in Alicante Spain: Pros and Cons for Wannabe Expats

If you are thinking of living in Alicante, Spain, we wholeheartedly encourage the idea. But do not just believe us. Foreigners make up roughly 15% of the population, and the Mediterranean area sitting on the Costa Blanca is known for their large expat communities, especially Brits.



2 bedroom apartment with communal pool in Monte Dourado, only a short stroll to amenities and Carvoeiro beach

This 2 bedroom apartment for sale with communal pool in Monte Dourado, is only a short stroll to amenities and Carvoeiro beach.



For Sale: Newly refurbished 2 Bedroom Apartment, PortimĂŁo

A ground floor, 2 bedroom flat in Portimão (Pedra Mourinha), located close to schools, cafés, local shops and a modern gym, and within walking distance of Portimão’s main shopping centre.



Peaceful Algarvian 8 bedroom home renovated to a high standard, just 2 minutes from Lagos

This fantastic property just outside Lagos currently works fantastically as a guesthouse, but can also easily be used as a large, single family home.




Cooking workshops at Figs on the Funcho

We have two upcoming cooking workshops at Figs on the Funcho, an Ottolenghi-Inspired Workshop and a Falafel Making Workshop. Reserve your place now!



Portuguese Cultural Production Golden Visa Seminars - Jan 16th & Feb 13th

The Portuguese Cultural Production Golden Visa – which has long been part of the Golden Visa’s investment options - is garnering more and more attention from international investors.



Saint Andrew’s Society of the Algarve Burn's Supper - Jan 27th

The Saint Andrew’s Society of the Algarve is delighted to announce that we will be once again be holding our Burns Supper at the Ponte Romana restaurant in Silves on Saturday 27 January 2024.



The Internet of Things - Feb 3rd & 4th, in Silves

Shake off those winter blues by coming to watch this hilarious show, The Internet of Things, all about what can, and does, go wrong with modern electronic technology.



Castro Marim Golf Club Charity Golf Day Fundraiser - Jan 26th 2024

Castro Marim Golf Club and the Somos Esperança Associação de Solidariedade Charity invite you to a Charity Golf Day Fundraiser on January 26th 2024, to raise funds to care for and feed the homeless in Olhão.




To see more info about events coming up in the next few weeks, check out

My Guide Algarve's event calendar



For latest information and advice regarding crime, wildfires and the Covid-19 pandemic, visit the

Safe Communities Portugal website



Everything you need to know if you are moving to, living in or visiting the Algarve.

AngloInfo website


‍Have a great week, from the Algarve Daily News team!


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